Colombia El Carmen
Region: Pitalito, Huila
Altitude: 1400 - 2100 MASL
Variety: Caturra, Castillo
Milling: Screen size 18+
Sorting: Colour sorted with laser sorters
In May 2017, importers Raw Material met with two producer groups in the region of Pitalito, Huila to gain further knowledge on what is preventing farmers from accessing the specialty market.
The groups represented nearly 300 families. Even though the groups were producing large amounts of coffee, the money being brought in was unsustainable. They were faced with the choice; finding an alternative income outside of coffee, or find a more sustainable market.
Through the discussions, farmers said their main challenges were lack of infrastructure and a lack of stable prices which would in turn improve quality. It was also discovered that there was a big difference in how coffee quality was evaluated at farm level in comparison to the roasting end.
To make sure these challenges were addressed, Raw Material launched Red Associations. New infrastructure was put in place, which meant that farmers could be paid a minimum fee for the coffee they produced.
This price results in double the household income of a typical coffee producing family, compared with the average income in the regular market over the past 5 years.
Once the new infrastructure is built, fixed price payments can get directly to producers through a transparent system. The goal is to achieve stable and sustainable prices for community coffee lots through improved quality control, shared knowledge, and a connection to the specialty coffee market. Red in Spanish means network, representing the producers and roasters working together to create a sustainable value chain.
Carlo's Coffee Kitchen is proud to be one of the roasters supporting the Red Associations